The long road to closure for Jennifer Hudson after the murders of her mother Darnell Donerson, 57, brother Jason Hudson, 29, and 7-year-old nephew Julian King in 2008 has come to an end, following the sentencing today of convicted killer William Balfour. He was handed life without parole by Cook County, Illinois’ Judge Charles Burns, who told Balfour that his actions “send a chill through all of us” and said the murderer’s “soul is as barren as dark space.”
Altogether, Burns gave Balfour three consecutive life sentences for the killings and 120 years for home invasion and aggravated kidnapping (of King).
According to the Chicago Tribune, Balfour made a statement to the victims’ family members, including Jennifer Hudson and sister Julia — who Balfour was estranged from at the time of the murders — before he was sentenced: “My condolences go out to the family. My deepest sympathies go to Julian King. I loved him. I still love him.”
Judge Burns later countered the statement, his voice shaking, according to the Tribune: “The fact that you can stand in court and tell us you love that child is an insult to all of us.There’s no doubt in my mind he looked up to you as you were putting bullets into his head. I just hope his terror was short-lived.”
Jennifer Hudson was also in the courtroom in May when the verdict was read, sitting beside her fiance David Otunga, her sister Julia and other family members.
Balfour’s motion for a new trial was denied today by Judge Burns.